2023 Sun Belt Schedules, Games To Watch and More

April 12, 2023 by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff

2023 will be the Sun Belt's second season as a 14-team conference after growing last year by welcoming James Madison, Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss.

2022 was a banner year for the Sun Belt with several news-worthy feats, none of which may have been bigger than what occurred on Saturday, September 10. On that date, the SBC became the first conference in 19 years to have at least three Group of Five programs score victories over three Power 5 teams, including two over Top Ten teams.

On that date, Appalachian State prevailed 17-14 at No. 6 Texas A&M as an 18.5-point underdog, Marshall won 26-21 at No. 8 Notre Dame as a 19-point dog, and Georgia Southern was a 45-41 winner at unranked Nebraska as a 21.5-point underdog. It was the kind of excitement you get after checking out real money online casinos in Pennsylvania.

The last time that happened was September 20, 2003 when the MAC performed the hat trick. On that date, Marshall once again was a factor in that accomplishment, along Northern Illinois and Toledo. The Herd won 27-20 at No. 6 Kansas State, Northern Illinois was a 19-16 winner at No. 21 Alabama, and Toledo score the 35-31 upset at No. 9 Pittsburgh.

The regular season success of multiple schools produced a conference-record seven bowl participants which was more than any other Group of Five conference and the PAC-12. Only the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and SEC had more bowl entrants.

The SBC also attracted ESPN's College GameDay for the second time in conference history when Troy visited Appalachian State on September 17. The Mountaineers won 32-28, but the Trojans would go 11-0 for the rest of the year and finished the season with a 12-2 record, a Sun Belt title, and a fifth straight bowl victory.

The 23rd season of Sun Belt football will feature 56 league games. Each member will play 8 conference games with 6 of those against their divisional rivals and two cross-over games.

Seven mid-week games will be featured on the ESPN platform. Georgia State will visit Coastal Carolina on 9/21 (Thursday), before the Chanticleers journey to Appalachian State on 10/10 (Tuesday). After that, Southern Miss heads to South Alabama on 10/17 (Tuesday), and James Madison visits Marshall two days later. The battle of Georgia teams will be highlighted on October 26 (Thursday) as Georgia State invades Statesboro to take on Georgia Southern. On November 2, South Alabama goes to Troy for the "Battle for the Belt". Louisiana hosts Southern Miss on November 9.

Kickoff times and networks for all midweek games and weekend games in the first three weeks of the season will be selected in late May. All other games will fall into the traditional 12-day selection process.

The first game involving any Sun Belt team in 2023 will take place on Thursday, August 31 when FCS member Rhode Island, 7-4 in the Colonial a year ago, visits Georgia State. The Panthers rolled the Rams 41-7 in the only previous meeting which took place at Rhode Island in 2012. That was also the only year that GSU competed in the CAA, and it was the only win all year for the Bill Curry-coached Panthers while the Rams finished 0-11. Georgia State began its transition to the FBS the following season and moved to the Sun Belt.

The 13 other Sun Belt schools will all play on Labor Day weekend Saturday.

Coastal Carolina, ODU and Arkansas Sate will have the opportunity to open 2023 with a bang as they visit Power 5 schools.

The Chanticleers will visit UCLA for Tim Beck's inaugural game as the Sun Belt's only new head coach. Beck scored his first big win when QB Grayson McCall decided to withdraw from the transfer portal and remain in Conway. McCall, who has up two years of eligibility remaining, has already passed for 8,086 yards with 78 TD's and only 8 INT's. Her has also rushed for 1,065 yards and 17 scores.

Meanwhile, Old Dominion will look to improve its all-time record against Virginia Tech to 3-2 while attempting to grab the program's first win over the Hokies in Blacksburg.

The Red Wolves will visit Oklahoma in the third meeting with the Sooners, all of which have been held in Norman with the Sooners winning 45-7 in 2000 and 61-0 in 1992.

Another big game on Labor Day weekend has South Alabama, 10-3 a year ago, visiting a Tulane program that was 12-2 and finished the year with a 46-45 win over USC in the Cotton Bowl.

On September 9, Appalachian State goes to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina. This matchup in 2022 in Boone resulted in a wild 63-61 win for the visiting Tar Heels who were outscored 40-22 in the 4th quarter but held on when App State's two-point conversion run attempt failed with 9 seconds remaining in the game.

The last time these teams met at Kenan Memorial Stadium came in 2019 when the Mountaineers preserved a 34-31 in by blocking a 50-yard field goal on the final play of the game. That was the first meeting in 79 years after North Carolina won the 1940 clash with ease, 56-6. Drake Maye returns at quarterback for North Carolina, but Appalachian State's Chase Brice is hoping to continue his career in the professional ranks. No returning ASU quarterback threw more than 6 passes last season. In last year's game, Brice threw for 361 yards with 6 TD's and 1 INT, including 4 TD's in the 4th quarter. UNC's Maye threw for 352 yards and 4 TD's and no picks.

Also on September 9, James Madison visits Virginia with a legitimate chance at defeating the Cavs who may not even be favored. That's because the Dukes were 8-3 and tied for first with Coastal Carolina in the Sun Belt east division in their first season as a FBS program. They ended the season by crushing the Chanticleers 47-7 in Harrisonburg and would have played for the Sun Belt title and a bowl game had they not been in the first year of their transition from the FCS. A waiver was filed to speed up eligibility from 2024 to 2023, but that has not yet been approved.

JMU's game at Virginia will be the first of three straight road games, and the first meeting with Virginia since 1983. The two programs met three times between 1979 and 1983 - all in Charlottesville - with the Dukes prevailing 21-17 in 1982 in what was George Welsh's first of 19 seasons as the head coach of the Cavs.

JMU's game at Virginia will also mark the first home football game for the Cavaliers since the shooting last November that led to the cancelation of UVA's final two games of the season. Virginia opens against Tennessee in a 'neutral' game at Nashville.

Two other games on September 9 pit Sun Belt teams against P5 schools when Southern Miss visits Florida State, and Troy treks to Kansas State,

September 9 also features the first Sun Belt Conference clash when Louisiana visits Old Dominion.

One of the feature games on September 16 will have the Warhawks of ULM trying to replicate App State's upset of Texas A&M at College Station. Games that day also have Georgia Southern going to Wisconsin and Old Dominion hosting Wake Forest.

A big conference game will also be staged on September 16 as James Madison heads to Troy. It will mark the first meeting since 1999 and the first-ever as SBC and FBS foes.

September 23 sees Marshall doing something it hasn't done since 2011 - host Virginia Tech. The Herd are just 2-11 all-time vs. the Hokies and the wins came more than 80 years ago when Marshall took back-to-back matches in Huntington in 1939 and 1940. Virginia Tech has won the last 9, including a 30-10 romp on that 2011 visit.

Other shots at P5 wins come on September 30 when Louisiana visit Minnesota, and on October 7 with Marshall's visit to NC State.

ULM gets a crack at Ole Miss on November 18 while Southern Miss takes a shot at Mississippi State.

There are only 3 weeks during the entire season where every Sun Belt team plays a conference game. That situation occurs for October 26-28, November 2-4 and all the season finale games on November 25.

Team-By-Team Schedules

* - denotes conference game

9/2     Gardner-Webb (FCS)
9/9      at North Carolina
9/16    East Carolina
9/23    at Wyoming
9/30    at Louisiana-Monroe*
10/10  Coastal Carolina*
10/21  at Old Dominion*
10/28  Southern Miss*
11/4    Marshall*
11/11  at Georgia State*
11/18  at James Madison*
11/25  Georgia Southern*

9/2      at Oklahoma
9/9      Memphis
9/16    Stony Brook (FCS)
9/23    Southern Miss*
9/30    at UMass
10/7    at Troy*
10/21  Coastal Carolina* 
10/28  at Louisiana-Monroe*
11/4    Louisiana*
11/11  at South Alabama*
11/18  Texas State*
11/25  at Marshall*

9/2      at UCLA
9/9      Jacksonville State
9/16    Duquesne (FCS)
9/21    Georgia State*
9/30    at Georgia Southern*
10/10  at Appalachian State*
10/21  at Arkansas State*
10/28  Marshall*
11/4    at Old Dominion*
11/11  Texas State*
11/18  at Army
11/25  James Madison*

9/2      The Citadel (FCS)
9/9      UAB
9/16    at Wisconsin
9/23    at Ball State
9/30    Coastal Carolina*
10/14  at James Madison*
10/21  Louisiana-Monroe*
10/26  Georgia State*
11/4    at Texas State*
11/11  at Marshall*
11/18  Old Dominion*
11/25  at Appalachian State*

8/31    Rhode Island (FCS)
9/9      UConn
9/16    at Charlotte
9/21    at Coastal Carolina*
9/30    Troy*
10/14  Marshall*
10/21  at Louisiana*
10/26  at Georgia Southern* 
11/4    James Madison*
11/11  Appalachian State*
11/18  at LSU
11/25  at Old Dominion*

9/2      Bucknell (FCS)
9/9      at Virginia
9/16    at Troy*
9/23    at Utah State
9/30    South Alabama*
10/14  Georgia Southern*
10/19  at Marshall*
10/28  Old Dominion*
11/4    at Georgia State*
11/11  UConn
11/18  Appalachian State*
11/25  at Coastal Carolina*

9/2      NW State, La. (FCS)
9/9      at Old Dominion*
9/16    at UAB
9/23    Buffalo
9/30    at Minnesota
10/7    Texas State*
10/21  Georgia State* 
10/28  at South Alabama*
11/4    at Arkansas State*
11/9    Southern Miss* 
11/18  at Troy*
11/25  Louisiana-Monroe*

9/2      Army
9/9      Lamar (FCS)
9/16    at Texas A&M
9/30    Appalachian State*
10/7    South Alabama*
10/14  at Texas State*
10/21  at Georgia Southern* 
10/28  Arkansas State*
11/4    at Southern Miss*
11/11  Troy*
11/18  at Ole Miss
11/25  at Louisiana*

9/2      Albany (FCS)
9/9      at East Carolina
9/23    Virginia Tech
9/30    Old Dominion*
10/7    at NC State
10/14  at Georgia State*
10/19  James Madison*
10/28  at Coastal Carolina*
11/4    at Appalachian State*
11/11  Georgia Southern*
11/18  at South Alabama*
11/25  Arkansas State*

9/2      at Virginia Tech
9/9      Louisiana*
9/16    Wake Forest
9/23    Texas A&M-Commerce (FCS)
9/30    at Marshall*
10/7    at Southern Miss*
10/21  Appalachian State* 
10/28  at James Madison*
11/4    Coastal Carolina*
11/11  at Liberty
11/18  at Georgia Southern*
11/25  Georgia State*

9/2      at Tulane
9/9      SE Louisiana (FCS)
9/16    at Oklahoma State
9/23    Central Michigan
9/30    at James Madison*
10/7    at Louisiana-Monroe*
10/17  Southern Miss* 
10/28  Louisiana*
11/2    at Troy*
11/11  Arkansas State*
11/18  Marshall*
11/25  at Texas State*

9/2      Alcorn State (FCS)
9/9      at Florida State
9/16    Tulane
9/23    at Arkansas State*
9/30    Texas State*
10/7    Old Dominion*
10/17  at South Alabama* 
10/28  at Appalachian State*
11/4    Louisiana-Monroe*
11/9    at Louisiana*
11/18  at Mississippi State
11/25  Troy*

9/2      at Baylor
9/9      at UTSA
9/16    Jackson State (FCS)
9/23    Nevada
9/30    at Southern Miss*
10/7    at Louisiana*
10/14  Louisiana-Monroe* 
10/28  Troy*
11/4    Georgia Southern*
11/11  at Coastal Carolina*
11/18  at Arkansas State*
11/25  South Alabama*

9/2      Stephen F. Austin (FCS)
9/9      at Kansas State
9/16    James Madison*
9/23    Western Kentucky
9/30    at Georgia State*
10/7    Arkansas State*
10/14  at Army
10/28  at Texas State*
11/2    South Alabama*
11/11  at Louisiana-Monroe*
11/18  Louisiana*
11/25  at Southern Miss*